NICU webcam at Orem hospital 'especially comforting' for deployed father

Mary Girtman's family is being stretched in all directions, with her husband deployed overseas and her infant son spe...

Posted: Apr 2, 2018 10:21 AM
Updated: Apr 2, 2018 10:21 AM

Mary Girtman's family is being stretched in all directions, with her husband deployed overseas and her infant son spending his days and nights in the neonatal intensive care unit at Timpanogos Regional Hospital, but she prefers to find the silver lining in it.

Thanks to some fresh video technology available to families whose infants are staying in the NICU at the Orem hospital, Girtman said, her husband can peek in on his son at any time.

And with John Girtman stationed with the U.S. Air Force halfway around the world, their disjointed schedules are a blessing in disguise, enabling their son to be under the loving watch of a parent around the clock, even overnight.

"It is a pretty big time difference, so usually when I'm sleeping (my husband) is working," Mary Girtman told KSL. "It kind of keeps us checking on him 24/7. During the day I'm here (and) while I'm sleeping my husband's checking on him."

The long-distance virtual visits with 7-week-old John Carter Girtman are made possible via a camera at his bedside that transmits livestream video to any family member with a password and internet connection. The camera is a godsend to any parent missing their NICU baby while away from the hospital, Mary Girtman said, but particularly for a faraway dad who is unable to make visits at all.

"I think it's especially comforting to him because we're not able to talk as much as we would like ... but for him to be able to see (his son) through a camera I think takes the stress off him a little bit, just to see that (his son) is OK," she said.

The infant spent most of the first month of his life in the NICU at Primary Chlidren's Hospital because of health issues that plagued him from birth, and a week after caregivers there sent him home he contracted pneumonia, necessitating that he be hospitalized again.

"They are just working on his feedings and trying to get him off oxygen," Mary Girtman said. "He's doing really good. He's made huge improvements the last couple weeks."

The Lehi woman says staying by his side as much as possible while also caring for her 19-month-old daughter Maley can make for some long days, particularly without her husband.

"It's definitely crazy," she said. "I find myself trying to split up my days between the two of them. I really just rely on the doctors and the nurses. There they just keep reassuring me I'm doing the best I can and (that) I'm doing great and everything I'm feeling is OK and normal."

That same Timpanogos Regional Hospital staff, which has been honored in recent years over proposals about how to keep NICU babies and their parents connected, used a $25,000 grant in March 2017 to purchase and install the technology.

The passwords allowing access to the livestream are given only to parents, who can then distribute it to family members and loved ones as they see fit, Timpanogos Regional Hospital spokesman Mike Graul explained last year.

Before her son began staying at Timpanogos Regional, the family used Facetime, but doing so felt more intrusive to other families who are "there to spend time with their sick babies," Mary Girtman said, particularly during the middle of the night when her husband was available. Plus, she said, using FaceTime meant she herself had to be at the hospital during those overnight hours.

"That takes one (more) stress off of me to (not) feel I need to be at the hospital at a certain time," she said.

Though Mary Girtman isn't nearly as far from her son, it can hurt to be without him, something the webcams help alleviate.

"When I am at home and when I'm out with my daughter or whatever, I can always check with him. As a new mom, you're always worrying about your kids and realistically I can't be there all the time," she said.

She also credited her parents, whom she is living with during her husband's deployment, for helping her keep everything together during her journey through unusual circumstances.

She looks forward to her son's full recovery and to the day when the whole family is together again in a few months (she couldn't disclose her husband's location or precisely when he returns, which she said is considered sensitive information). But in the meantime, with the help of some livestreaming where needed, she and her family are focused on appreciating the togetherness they do get to enjoy.

"To be completely honest, if I look at it as the full time he's going to be gone ... it's really hard. But if we just focus on what (we) need to do that day - and remember (that) I'm doing it for my family, and ultimately for my country - that gets us through the hard days and helps."

West Lafayette
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 75°
Kokomo
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 73°
Rensselaer
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 75°
Fowler
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 75°
Williamsport
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 72°
Crawfordsville
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 67°
Frankfort
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 73°
Delphi
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 73°
Monticello
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 73°
Logansport
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 72°
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 50300

Reported Deaths: 2748
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11920692
Lake5432248
Elkhart347058
Allen2902133
St. Joseph205169
Hamilton1665101
Cass16449
Hendricks1446100
Johnson1325118
Porter80238
Tippecanoe7599
Clark68144
Vanderburgh6816
Madison67264
LaPorte60527
Howard59458
Bartholomew59345
Kosciusko5704
Marshall5308
Noble50128
LaGrange4829
Jackson4783
Boone47444
Delaware46952
Hancock46036
Shelby43525
Floyd40444
Morgan33631
Monroe32928
Grant30926
Dubois2976
Henry29717
Montgomery29720
Clinton2893
White26810
Decatur25532
Dearborn25423
Lawrence25225
Vigo2478
Warrick24329
Harrison21722
Greene19332
Miami1922
Jennings17912
Putnam1728
DeKalb1674
Scott1639
Wayne1536
Daviess15017
Perry1459
Orange13723
Steuben1362
Jasper1332
Franklin1278
Ripley1277
Wabash1152
Carroll1132
Gibson1132
Fayette1057
Whitley1045
Newton10010
Starke983
Huntington932
Randolph794
Wells791
Jefferson782
Fulton731
Jay680
Washington681
Knox670
Clay665
Pulaski661
Rush613
Posey550
Owen521
Benton510
Spencer501
Adams491
Sullivan471
Brown431
Blackford402
Fountain352
Crawford330
Tipton321
Switzerland300
Martin240
Parke230
Ohio220
Vermillion200
Warren151
Union130
Pike110
Unassigned0193

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events